Governor Proposes 20092011 Budget
Special Report - March 20, 2009
Governor Beverly Perdue released a budget proposal this week that will attempt to close an estimated $6.4 billion gap in the State’s two-year budget. In a letter introducing the budget proposal, Gov. Perdue draws attention to the “unprecedented” challenge of the “greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
The proposal seeks to address the budget shortfall by reducing unnecessary government spending and taking advantage of $2.9 billion of federal stimulus funds. While most government programs will receive less money in the budget proposal, Gov. Perdue recommends focusing on several areas:
- Growing North Carolina’s Economy: The proposal seeks to create jobs by investing in infrastructure and business assistance and also offers grants for downtown revitalization. The budget proposal also seeks to increase tourism revenues and to support education that better prepares students for the workplace
- Improving Public Education: Gov. Perdue’s proposal would increase per-student funding from $5,597 to $5,736 and “focuses on administrative efficiencies.” Furthermore, the “200911 budget recommendation does not reduce, redirect or transfer any lottery or corporate income tax receipts from the Public School Building Capital Fund.”
- Keeping Education Accessible and Affordable: The proposal “fully funds enrollment for all students hoping to attend a community college … or UNC system institution … .”
- Protecting Our Most Vulnerable Citizens: In this area, Gov. Perdue proposes to ensure that those receiving Medicaid are not displaced and that “we do not impact our citizens’ ability to gain access to needed health services.” Interestingly, Gov. Perdue does not mention the unborn among the “most vulnerable citizens.” The annual $50,000 State Abortion Fund line item still remains in the budget proposal.
- Keeping Our Communities Safe: The budget proposal increases probation system positions and raises pay grades for better recruitment purposes. The budget also applies $10 million in federal funds to for gang-related programs.
- Making Government More Efficient and Accountable: Gov Perdue’s proposal prefers long-running savings over “one-time actions.” Additionally, the budget “reduces or eliminates more than 20 programs that are duplicative, costly, inefficient or nonessential.”
- Fiscal Responsibility: The proposed budget is $360 million lower than the 2009 fiscal year budget even though the population is expected to increase by 1.5%.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina General Assembly continues to examine and discuss the budget situation and will spend much of next week reviewing the Governor’s budget proposals.
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